And we are here at episode #50. Now we’ve done other episodes in between, fun little experiments and tastings, but the full fifty represents fifty classic cocktails we’ve learned about and enjoyed. This one is extra special because it’s one of those really old ones from the American colonial era: The Stone Fence.
This drink is 300 years old. Two ounces of rum in a pint glass and filled the rest of the way with cider. It sounds like something our forefathers would put together; it’s simple and gets the job done.
Now there is a story that follows along with this drink which includes a famous American hero (though most of us think of furniture when we hear the name): Ethan Allen.
Ethan Allen was one of the more notable personalities of Vermont even before there was a Vermont (he was one of the founders). He was a real Renaissance guy of the American colonies being a statesman, writer, businessman, philosopher and war hero. At the start of the Revolutionary War he was the leader of a gang of raiders known as the Green Mountain Boys. Prior to a pre-dawn raid of Fort Ticonderoga in May 1775, he and his crew spent the evening drinking many Stone Fences steeling themselves up for the impending battle. As it happened, the sentry on guard duty at the fort had fallen asleep and Allen and his gang walked right in and took it from the British without a fight.
The cocktail itself was easy to drink. It was tart and refreshing with a little extra sweetness and kick from the rum. This is a sneaky drink that will mess you up without warning.
One thing about cocktails in general that make them a little less approachable is that mixing drinks is a craft best done well by people who know what they’re doing and it takes time (more than what the average American is willing to sacrifice for leisure). If you’re at home mixing a drink in preparation for the new episode of Game of Thrones or something, it’s hard to get up the energy to prepare and combine the five ingredients to one of these cocktails…and there won’t be time for a garnish. Beer and wine is an automatic go-to when you’re at home because there is very little work. At most you’ll put rum or Jack in your store brand cola. So one of the real benefits of the Stone Fence is that it is so easy to make, it’s hard to mess it up and there is no expertise required and is a great replacement for rum and Coke if you have cider handy.
And then also, it’s just like going 300 years into the past, I swear!